Thurrott Daily: April 5

Posted on April 5, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Mobile, Android, iOS, Music + Videos, Microsoft Movies & TV with 0 Comments

Thurrott Daily: April 5

Tech tidbits from around the web.

4/5/2016 12:56:33 PM

Now you can watch the new Star Wars movie with BB-8

You may be aware that Sphero sells a cute little app-enable BB-8 droid that you can control from your smart phone. And you most certainly are aware that “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” was just released on Blu-Ray and via every digital service known to god and man. Well, now you can use them together: Thanks to an update to the mobile app (yes,Android and iOS; Update: There IS a Windows app!), you can watch that movie with the little BB-8 droid, and he will respond to the action as it happens.

The Watch With Me feature allows your Droid to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens with you. Select this option when BB-8 is in his charging base, start the movie, and watch his reactions along with the film.

Nathan Olivarez-Giles from The Wall Street Journal tried it out (and of course he uses a freaking iPad Pro for some reason):

The toy responds to on-screen highs and lows. When Han Solo and Chewbacca first appear, BB-8 goes wild with excitement. And at the appearance of the film’s villain, Kylo Ren, BB-8 shies away in fear. BB-8 is also a bit of diva, beeping and booping it up when he sees himself on screen.

Neat. Not that I’d personally spend $130 on a toy droid. But… He is cute.

Google Calendar gets reminders on the web

You may recall that Google announced that it was adding reminders to Google Calendar back in December. That first release was for the Android and iOS app versions only. Now, itsupports reminders on Google Calendar on the web too.

Starting this week, we’re bringing Reminders in Google Calendar to the web so you can keep track of your to-dos alongside your events.

Just like on Android and iPhone, you’ll get the following:

  • Reminders stick around – If a reminder isn’t completed, it will appear at the top of your calendar until you mark it done.
  • Reminders work across Google – Reminders you create in Inbox, Keep, and the Google app will also show in Google Calendar.
  • Reminders sync with mobile – Reminders created in mobile show up on the web and vice versa. So you can stay on track from just about anywhere.

Google updates its Play logos

And speaking of Google, the search giant announced this week that it is updating the icons for all of its Play mobile apps.

Since launching Google Play four years ago, we’ve always had dedicated apps in addition to the Google Play store. Today, all our icons are getting an update to provide a consistent look across the entire family of Play apps.

You’ll start to see the new Google Play icons across devices and online in the coming weeks. We hope you’ll continue enjoying the Play family of products—now with a new look.


NeXT’s Avie Tevanian pops up again

Avie Tevanian was to NeXT (and then to OS X at the renewed Apple in the late 1980s) as Dave Cutler was to Windows NT: The architect of the firm’s incredible software. He left Apple in 2003 and basically disappeared, kind of like Scott Forestall did later, except we actually miss Tevanian. Anyway, he’s back, sort of. And his next big thing has a nice nod to NeXT, Bloomberg explains.

Three [former] members of Elevation Partners are starting a new group. The Silicon Valley veterans have raised more than $100 million to back technology startups at their new firm, NextEquity.

Two of the founders have a long history together. Fred Anderson was Apple Inc.’s longtime chief financial officer, and Avie Tevanian was the company’s top software executive. In 2004, Anderson helped start Elevation Partners, which took its name from a U2 song. Tevanian joined as managing director in 2010.

NextEquity is a play on NeXT, the company Jobs started after he was ousted from Apple in 1985. Tevanian said the Menlo Park, Calif., firm has already made a few investments but declined to name them.

Equity firms are where aging Silicon Valley pioneers go to die, I guess. Ah well.

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